Earlier this year, The DBL Center announced the upcoming launch of a mobile app and dedicated website that provides our brokers access to a DBL Center app dashboard to manage all your accounts easily online, from anywhere with Internet access.
By the beginning of Fall 2017, DBL Center brokers can look forward to seeing the app rolled out and fully functional. “We’re on the time frame we expected for the successful launch of this app by the end of the third quarter, beginning of the fourth,” says DBL Center President Michael Cohen. “I couldn’t be prouder of our team for meeting our very ambitious interim deadlines. As we round the turn to completion, I’m excited to see the app change the way our brokers conduct their daily business in faster, more convenient ways.”
Cohen wants to clarify the functionality of the DBL Center app and desktop site, based on feedback he’s heard from those who have viewed the beta version. “This is not a portal,” he says. “This is a dashboard that provides our brokers with everything they need from an account management basis to compare premiums and bind policies easily from anywhere they happen to be.”
Of course, The DBL Center employees are still available to answer questions and provide the same level of white-glove service we always have. But the app gives brokers a more convenient way to conduct business, whether they are at home, in their office, or on the road.
When you log in to the DBL Center app or desktop site, you will see your personalized insurance dashboard. Depending on the choices you select, you’ll be taken to the carrier’s site to get a quote or bind a policy.
For brokers who work with multiple carriers, the app makes it easy to access all their accounts from one central location. “It’s similar to the way someone would use their Universal Remote to control their TV, Blu-ray, and Netflix, all from one device,” says Cohen, relying on an equally high-tech analogy to pinpoint the convenience and ease-of-use the app will provide to brokers.
Additionally, brokers can view other choices from the dashboard—options they may not have previously considered for their clients. “Property and casualty brokers who normally write disability will now have the opportunity to view ancillary benefits or Paid Family Leave policies directly from the app’s central dashboard. It’s all integrated, which makes it easier to manage existing policies and look at ways to expand your book of business.”
In addition, brokers can consider different carriers and see the vast range of choices in A+ rated carriers The DBL Center offers its customers.
When DBL Center brokers sign online to bind a policy with fewer than 50 lives, they will be prompted to establish a login and password for the DBL Center Dashboard and mobile app. “We want to make sure every one of our brokers has the opportunity to hear about our new dashboard and mobile app and to sign up as soon as they are ready,” says Cohen.
The DBL Center will also host live webinars and provide instructional material to guide brokers’ through the use of the app, which is already incredibly intuitive and designed to address the brokers’ needs with an easy-to-navigate interface.
Finally, The DBL Center app will allow brokers to sign up for direct deposit, to have commission deposited electronically into their bank accounts, eliminating the hassle and stress of waiting for paper checks. While direct deposit has been common in many industries for years, few brokers have had the chance to appreciate the convenience and peace-of-mind they will enjoy receiving commissions through direct pay methods.
“We are taking what my father, David Cohen, created 40 years ago and we are using the latest technology to bring The DBL Center into the future, ahead of our competitors, and on the cutting edge for insurance sales,” says Cohen. “We can’t wait to hear the feedback from our brokers when they log in for the first time and discover how their back office processes are streamlined thanks to the app.”
The DBL Center… More than Just Disability Coverage…
Discover the benefits of our white-glove service …
by Dawn Allcot
Take advantage of numerous member benefits, from networking opps to discounts on important services through New York Business Council
If you’ve been in the insurance brokerage business for any length of time, you understand how important networking is. Whether you use inbound marketing and SEO to sell insurance products online or rely on real-world networking events and connections to expand your book-of-business, if you want to grow, you must sign new clients.
The DBL Center Ltd. has partnered with the Business Council of New York State to help our brokers connect with hundreds of small and large business owners across New York State. The New York Business Council offers a host of benefits to its members, including:
• A free landing page on the “Made in New York” website to let members know about their services
• Personal introductions, upon request, to any other NYBC member
• Unlimited access to New York Business Council Human Resources/Labor Government Affairs Director, Frank Kerbein
• Free webinars for members, focusing on topics such as HR issues, Paid Family Leave, and Cyber Security
• Live networking events focusing on business taxes, the environment, and other issues relevant to New York business owners
Why Join the New York Business Council
When The DBL Center Ltd. first joined The Business Council, we investigated its benefits closely to determine if the membership fees were worthwhile for our industry, our location, and the size of our business. We discovered many opportunities for an insurance wholesaler and, of course, insurance broker firms, within our state.
It’s no secret, in the past year, we’ve expanded our Web presence and Internet marketing to better educate and serve insurance brokers across the country. But, at the same time, we continue seeking ways to better serve our brokers in New York and across the Tri-state area. The New York Business Council provides the means to do so, with increased networking connections, access to businesses who need our clients’ services for NYS DBL and Paid Family Leave benefits, and discounts on a number of required purchases for New York businesses. “Our members join us for a variety of reasons, but the primary ones are: advocacy, networking, brand visibility and recognition, new business development, and discounts,” says Peter A. Bucci, Director, Membership, for The Business Council of New York State.
He continues, “A number of our members partner with us to help promote their product or service. We have nearly twenty Affinity Partners that provide our members with discounts on everything from car rentals, hotels, payroll services, office supplies, energy, sports memorabilia, shipping, and much more.”
The New York Business Council and The DBL Center Work Together to Increase Opportunities Downstate
Until recently, The Business Council of New York State has operated primarily upstate, with its annual meeting at the Sagamore Resort in Lake George and numerous networking events across the regions of central and western New York.
The DBL Center Ltd. seeks to expand NYBC membership on Long Island and in the New York City boroughs. We recently hosted two informational seminars on Paid Family Leave, followed by networking happy hours, on Long Island and in midtown Manhattan in partnership with The Business Council and our largest insurance carriers.
The more brokers join The Business Council, the more events we can host in the Tri-State area, enabling even more businesses to take advantage of the low rates, wide range of ancillary benefits, and exemplary service provided by brokers who use The DBL Center Ltd. as their back-office for DBL and other benefits.
Join a 100+ Year Legacy as a Member of The Business Council of New York State
The Business Council is a 103-year-old membership association whose nearly 2,500 members include Fortune 500 companies, colleges and universities, manufacturers, professional firms, small businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. Isn’t it time you joined to take advantage of the benefits and networking opportunities?
As a Business Council member, The DBL Center Ltd. is happy to answer any questions you may have about membership or assist with your application. Membership fees are based on the size of your business and are tax deductible, so even smaller New York businesses may find membership worthwhile.
Contact us today to find out more about partnering with the New York Business Council, taking advantage of fun networking opportunities across the state, and expanding your book of business with New York-based companies who require mandatory DBL, enriched DBL, and new Paid Family Leave insurance.
One of The DBL Center’s preferred carrier partners, AmTrust, offers the information you need to help your clients get ready for PFL and ensure compliance.
“At the early stage of any new insurance regulation, education is key.” This is how Joy Maas, Director of Marketing, Sales, and Accountant Management for AmTrust Financial Services, a top provider of New York and NJ state disability benefits, began our recent conversation about the Paid Family Leave regulations going into effect January 1, 2018.
For employers, education means learning how to ensure compliance with the new regulations, understanding what the PFL benefit covers, and knowing where to turn with questions they might have.
For our insurance brokers, it means partnering with carriers, through The DBL Center, who are prepared to offer PFL as a rider to existing DBL policies. More importantly, it means taking advantage of the tools and resources available so that you can continue to educate your clients on what they need to know.
“One of the best ways brokers can get more attention and write more business, right now, is to be the expert on the topic of PFL,” Maas continues. “Be the educator.”
Resources for Brokers
Since the day the news broke about PFL, The DBL Center has kept our brokers updated with information via our blog, newsletters, and a seminar series hosted and sponsored by The DBL Center and featuring our top carriers.
Brokers who show their customers they are well-versed in PFL will be in a position to earn additional business by writing PFL riders to existing DBL policies, and brokers who write their business with The DBL Center have a choice of top carriers and a host of resources at their fingertips.
PFL Compliance is Key
Of all the details available about PFL, compliance is, perhaps, the most critical. Brokers can use consultative selling techniques to build trust and explain how employers can purchase PFL coverage to avoid hefty fines and liabilities.
Employers should know, PFL compliance requires that they:
Penalties for Non-Compliance
Additionally, employers should know that the Workers’ Comp Board is allowed to assess non-compliance penalties up to ½ of 1 percent of the employers’ weekly payroll for the period of non-compliance, as well as mandating that the employer pay any PFL claims. An additional penalty of up to $500 may also be assessed.
Non-compliance is pricey, while PFL compliance is simple. And although we don’t know the premium rates at this time, we should know soon. When the rate is announced, you’ll be sure to read about it here on The DBL Center blog and in our newsletter.
Let the Education Continue
Maas asserts that the brokers who are willing to educate their clients on PFL are the ones who will win the business—and possibly even sell enriched DBL policies at the same time. “Let your clients know what PFL means, how it looks, and what they can do to prepare,” she tells brokers.
Maas and her colleague, David Clark, will co-present a seminar sponsored by The DBL Center Ltd. and hosted by DBL Center Partner Michael Cohen on June 7, 2017, from 2 to 4 PM at The DBL Center headquarters in Melville, NY. For details please send an email to email@example.com. Space is limited.
At this fun and informative event, both AmTrust and DBL Center representatives will answer our brokers’ questions about PFL and share all the details you need to sell this new mandatory benefit knowledgeably.
The DBL Center and ShelterPoint Life help clear up confusion about Paid Family Leave in New York
Are you ready for Paid Family Leave in New York? No doubt, employees are ready to enjoy more socially conscious, financially viable leave to care for newborn children, aging or sick loved ones, or adopted or foster children. But many employers still have questions and concerns about the policy. Here’s what DBL brokers should know in order to educate their customers.
1. Employers can begin payroll deductions to pay for PFL premiums as early as July 1.
Just as individuals may begin saving money in advance of an important event, employers can begin making payroll deductions for PFL beginning this July. Because DBL and PFL premiums will be due annually on a concurrent basis, this timing can help business owners manage cash flow as they phase in this new benefit. “Collecting PFL premium from payroll early alleviates some of the upfront financial burden on the employer,” writes insurance carrier ShelterPoint Life in a blog post on the company’s PFL micro-site.
2. Employers should consider continuity of operations and contingency planning in anticipation of employees using PFL beginning January 2018.
Contingency planning is important for any organization, at any time. But new PFL regulations could make it more financially feasible for new fathers to take time off to be with their new babies, for mothers to take extended maternity leave, and for employees of any age to take time off to care for loved ones without the financial concerns they might have had in the past. To maintain company morale and efficient business operations, it’s important to have a plan in place to temporarily fill these positions.
3. Employers should understand how and when their employees can use Paid Family Leave.
Employers will want to consider how they manage Paid Family Leave and other Paid Time Off. It’s important to understand:
4. Not every insurance carrier will offer PFL coverage.
PFL coverage is a rider to DBL policies, and both benefits will be mandatory in the state of New York beginning January 2018. However, not all insurance carriers will elect to offer PFL coverage. If a carrier elects not to provide PFL coverage, they must exit the DBL market and notifiy the insurance regulators accordingly.
For brokers, this means some of your customers will have to move their DBL policies to a new carrier as early as July 1. At The DBL Center, we’re committed to helping our brokers move those policies to preferred carriers prepared to offer DBL policies with PFL riders.
5. For employers, choosing the right broker will be the key to a seamless transition.
The DBL insurance industry is expecting a shake-up. Brokers who choose The DBL Center will be prepared to weather the storm. And employers who choose our brokers will find the transition seamless, as The DBL Center provides our usual white-glove, white-label service and acts as a full-service, back office to write and issue DBL policies with PFL riders. The new PFL coverage has been years in the making, and The DBL Center is ready to help our brokers educate and serve their customers.
Have more questions? Consider attending our free seminar, held May 10, 2018, from 3 to 5 PM at The NYC Friars Club, 57 E 55th Street, NY, NY, sponsored by The DBL Center, ShelterPoint Life, and the New York Business Council. RSVP today at michael.cohen @dblcntr.com, as seating is limited. Refreshments will be served.
The opportunities under Paid Family Leave are too powerful to ignore.
Are you an insurance broker worried about managing the added operational and transactional requirements of New York’s new Paid Family Leave laws? Although the rate has yet to be announced (as of this writing), and no one knows the commission potential, one top DBL carrier isn’t worried — and says you shouldn’t be either.
New York State PFL is one of the most comprehensive policies of its kind in the country offering paid time off and job security for employees. We covered some of the specifics of the mandatory Paid Family Leave benefits here. But if you’re a broker, you probably still have questions. Fortunately, The DBL Center, along with ShelterPoint Life, one of our top carriers, is prepared with answers.
How Much Commission Can Brokers Earn?
Commissions will depend on the rate, which is yet-to-be-announced, although we’re expecting to find out by early-to-mid May. “Our commitment is we are going to do everything possible to make fair payments to brokers,” says DeWitt M. Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for ShelterPoint Life, a top-rated insurance carrier poised to offer Paid Family Leve coverage through brokers across New York State.
Because of the additional premiums that will be deducted from employee wages and paid by employers, there could be a “nice increase in potential commission revenue,” continues Smith. “We believe the State appreciates the efforts involved by the brokers, and will make it possible for us to offer incremental increases in broker commissions.”
In short… we’re still waiting to find out how much commission brokers can earn. But The DBL Center and ShelterPoint Life are ready to make it as easy as possible for brokers to streamline PFL sales, enabling brokers to maximize those potential profits. “We’re working to take the worry and stress out of all the transactional and compliance-related issues that go along with PFL,” says Smith.
How Much Work Will It Take?
Writing PFL coverage will represent an added step in a consultative selling approach for DBL brokers in New York. In spite of the news coverage, many employers and HR executives still don’t understand what PFL means or what they need to do to get coverage in place. Employers can begin making payroll deductions for this coverage as early as July 1, so it’s up to you, the trusted broker, to educate your customers on their options.
Fortunately, ShelterPoint Life and The DBL Center are working to make it easy. If you currently write your NYS DBL policies with ShelterPoint Life through The DBL Center, PFL coverage will take the form of a simple rider added to the DBL policy. “For brokers accustomed to working with us in a simple, automated way online, adding PFL coverage to existing policies should be easy,” says Smith.
Brokers who offer PFL should also be ready for an influx of new customers, as only select carriers will write PFL coverage. Brokers who work with The DBL Center have an advantage, because our brokers can continue to write both DBL and PFL coverage policies through us.
My Customers Have Questions. Where Can I Go To Find the Answers?
The PFL education process will take time. Yet, it represents a great opportunity for brokers who work with The DBL Center to employ their consultative selling skills to give customers the answers they can’t find elsewhere. “We’ve had a dedicated task force in place since the day the law was signed,” notes Smith. “We also have a robust external communications strategy, with a dedicated PFL micro-site, blog, and newsletter designed to provide answers to brokers, employers, and employees.”
Browse the ShelterPoint PFL micro-site, formulate a marketing strategy to educate customers, and be certain to turn to The DBL Center should you (or your customers) have additional questions. You might also make plans to attend our informative seminar, sponsored jointly by ShelterPoint Life, The DBL Center, and the New York Business Council, to be held May 10, 2017 from 3 to 5 PM at The Friars Club, 57 E 55th Street, NY, NY. Seating is limited, so RSVP today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your insurance agency is sure to get noticed if you use these tactics to reach prospective clients.
The world of insurance is changing rapidly, but word-of-mouth referrals remain the biggest source of leads for property and casualty brokers.
Word-of-mouth, today, means a lot more than attending local networking meetings or playing golf with business owners and HR directors.
To get noticed in a crowded environment, your insurance agency needs to stand out in every way. And this means raising the bar for the way you present your company and showcase your brand—online and off.
These five tips can help you raise the profile of your insurance agency and showcase your brand as trustworthy and professional. And remember, The DBL Center Ltd. is always here to help as your general agency insurance wholesaler, providing white-glove service to you and your customers.
1. Welcome callers with a professional voice mail.
Is your agency small? Is your office manager often overworked? Don’t waste time answering phones when a professional voice mail or answering service can help your customers reach who they want faster—without pulling employees away from their regular duties.
2. Create a strong social media presence.
More than 70 percent of insurance agents say they view social media marketing as their primary means to reach millennial customers. If you’re looking to connect with today’s up-and-coming HR directors and build trust, you need to be online. And while insurance agents know that, studies show they aren’t necessarily acting on it effectively. According to a survey by KnownCircle, Inc., a social media referral service, less than 30 percent are engaging with customers on social media. In fact, most agencies (more than 60 percent) simply build a social profile on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and then ignore it.
Set your agency apart by building a social profile that is consistent with your branding, and then keeping it updated with relevant content.
3. Build a better website.
Does your website look like it was designed in 2005? Or even 2010? Like clothes, cars, and home décor, web designs go out of fashion. If your website was designed more than five years ago (or looks like it was!) it’s time for an update.
While you’re re-designing the site, make sure the branding across your organization (from your website to social media platforms to business cards, letterhead, and in-office signage) are all consistent, modern, and enticing.
4. Provide 24/7 service to your customers.
Today’s customers are more demanding than ever, largely driven by millennials. According to one article in Entrepreneur, 71 percent of millennials say the most important thing is that an organization values their time. And 25 percent expect a response within 10 minutes of reaching out to a company via social media.
This goes back to building a strong web presence, paying attention to how customers feel about your brand, and engaging with your customers—which would all make sense if you were dealing direct with consumer. However, because you are working in a B2B environment, you have the luxury of streamlining that path to engagement and customer service: Give your customers an easy way to get help 24/7 through your insurance wholesaler.
5. Use a wholesale general insurance agency as your full-service, back-office support staff.
Here at The DBL Center Ltd., we make it easy for you to present a professional image and white-glove support to your customers. We are your full-service, back-office support staff answering questions, helping your customers file claims, and providing information on claims filed. Our professionally designed web interface makes it easy.
And, as a broker working with us, our mobile app and website make it easy for you to provide the service your customers need, too. Whether you’re writing a new policy or upgrading mandatory DBL to enriched DBL coverage to give your customers more value, we are here to help you serve your customers with speed and professionalism.
When it’s time to move on, The DBL Center can help.
We live in an uncertain world. No one is sure what the economy will do, how a revamped national health care plan will affect health insurance brokers, or the cascading effects such a plan will have on property & casual brokers. Many of us in the industry (including The DBL Center) plan to stay the course, adapt, and prevail. But that may not be the right course of action for every broker.
P&C brokers have a number of reasons they may want to sell their agency. There may not be an adult child or close friend willing and able to take over the family business. Maybe the owner is just ready to cash in on the fruits of their labor after all these years and enjoy retirement, or maybe there is a health issue. Or maybe an agency owner wants to take a full advantage of today’s valuation and multiples on today’s agencies across the country.
When selling is the right exit strategy, who do you sell to? This isn’t an easy decision.
Turn to Those Who Know
You know how to run an insurance brokerage. But you probably don’t know how to get the most value for it when you decide to sell.
The DBL Center Ltd. and Helfer & Associates, a consulting and advisory firm focused exclusively on the insurance agency industry, have forged a mutually beneficial agreement to help DBL Center brokers formulate and deploy an exit strategy when the time comes.
Kenny Helfer, Managing Partner of Helfer & Associates, is a trusted consultant specializing in independent insurance agencies and brokers that provide both property & casualty, as well as life & health benefits. Kenny’s firm provides substantive value for any agency owner looking to take some chips off the table for a variety of reasons. He prepares strategic road maps and financial analytics for agency owners looking for potential exit strategies. This includes formal introductions to all the major buyers in the market, based on the personal relationships Kenny has developed over his years in the industry. His proven track record, expertise, and assistance spans all phases of the preparation and sale. His goal is to maximize the value of an agency of any size and to generate the best possible deal, structure, and outcome for his agency clients. Most importantly, he guides the entire process and removes the stress that could come with the most important business transaction of one’s life.
Weathering the Change
Undoubtedly, the sale of an insurance brokerage can create stress on existing employees involved in the acquisition, which can lead to the loss of top talent within the agency. Employees may be unsure of their job security, the new management structure, and their new employer’s expectations. Helfer & Associates works with the new management team to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible to improve retention of the firm’s greatest asset – their people.
Stay with Those You Trust
One mistake insurance brokerages often make following a sale is switching their wholesale insurance general agency. When a larger firm buys a smaller firm, they might switch wholesalers to keep everything under the umbrella of the parent company—simply because that’s the way the larger firm has always done things. This isn’t always the right choice.
If brokers are accustomed to working with a best-in-class insurance wholesaler with access to top A+++ rated carriers and a host of value-added products and services like The DBL Center, changing insurance wholesalers can create culture shock, frustration, and, again, problems retaining top employees.
If your insurance wholesaler is providing the white-glove service you and your employees have come to expect, finding a way to continue working together following the sale could help ease the transition to new ownership, retain top employees, and maintain the firm’s value. After all, it is the people, the insurance products, and the service that gives a brokerage firm its value—before and after the sale.
The DBL Center Ltd. works hard to earn, and sustain, our brokers’ trust. We provide a host of value-added services, as well as carrying many ancillary lines of coverage to help brokers easily expand their book of business and increase commissions. With advanced technology that allows our brokers to more easily write and manage accounts, The DBL Center stays at the forefront of the insurance industry. We believed informed customers are our best customers, so we stay ahead of important industry news, like New York’s new Paid Family Leave law, passing the information on to our brokers as it is announced. We are ready with top carriers who can provide brokers with the products they need once mandatory PFL goes into place.
Is It Time?
Choosing to sell your insurance brokerage and leave your livelihood is not an easy decision. And it’s obviously not the right choice for everyone. But when the time comes, DBL Center Ltd., working with Helfer & Associates, can help you create an exit strategy you can feel good about while helping to maintain consistency within the organization.
Contact us to find out how you can get the highest valuation for your agency.
Insurance brokers can receive better service working through the right insurance wholesaler.
Being an insurance broker isn’t easy, especially in these challenging times. Will Obamacare stay or will it go? How will that affect health insurance brokers, as well as those who provide ancillary benefits? The industry could be facing another major shake-up–but even that’s not guaranteed.
One way to prepare yourself for success in uncertain times is to build a reliable team. That team should include an insurance wholesaler who provides the white-glove, white-label service you and your customers deserve. Here are five ways The DBL Center sets itself apart as a wholesale insurance broker providing disability insurance, ancillary benefits, and more.
1. Enjoy a single point-of-contact for most benefits.
From disability insurance, which is mandated in New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii, to up-sell benefits, which can help brokers increase their earnings, The DBL Center provides what today’s brokers need to service small to mid-size businesses and larger firms.
Your customers come to you for disability coverage. You can help them increase their employee benefits packages with enriched DBL in
New York, and ancillary benefits such as vision, dental, and Group Life/AD&D coverage.
2. Bind quotes quickly and easily online.
You can compare rates and bind DBL coverage for businesses with under 50 lives in just a few clicks online. Our AA+ rated carriers also permit customers to easily begin and track claims online.
At DBL Center, our technology sets us apart and makes it easier for you, as the broker, to do your job and provide your customers with a higher level of service.
3. Book entertainment to thank special clients or give your employees a nice bonus.
Whether it’s the holiday season, start of summer, or any other occasion, it’s nice to take a break. Through our partnerships with The Friar’s Club and Steiner Sports Marketing, we can book comedic and sports guests for any occasion. Thank a special customer by adding entertainment to their corporate outing, or host an event yourself to thank all your top-tier customers. When we say we are more than just disability insurance, we really mean it. We are here to serve our brokers.
4. We can provide investment options for your customers.
From Roth IRA’s to 401Ks, we have an investment advisor on staff that can help you provide the best options to your employees. You can also add a revenue stream to your brokerage by offering retirement benefits to the HR directors you already work with. Best of all, there’s no added work on your part—just added commission. Connect our investment expert to your customers, and we’ll steer them down the right path for retirement savings.
5. Use our app to manage your book of business from anywhere.
The DBL Center already provides the capability of managing your book of business online, with our account representatives at your service when you need a more personal touch or have questions.
Now in development, our new mobile app for Android and iOS will permit you to manage your book of business from anywhere. Don’t wait until you’re back in the office to process that new account; do it immediately so your customers can have their Certificate of Insurance sooner. Take care of business on the road, at home, or from the coffee house. Wherever you happen to be, our mobile app makes it easy to check in and manage your insurance sales.
White Glove Service, High Tech Capabilities
DBL Center blends the best of old-fashioned concierge service with the latest technology to enable our brokers to do more in less time and focus on increasing their commissions.
We may not be sure what direction the industry will take in the next two to four years, but The DBL Center will be by your side, providing the tools you need to thrive as an insurance broker.
Brokers can profit by providing your customers with the information they need about Paid Family Leave.
Last year, New York State announced new Paid Family Leave regulations to be phased in over four years starting in January 2018.
The regulations would give New York families the best coverage in any state, surpassing even California, which currently has the most generous PFL laws in the country.
To recap what Paid Family Leave provides to employees (from our April blog post, which you can read here):
PFL mandates up to 12 weeks of job-protected, paid leave for all New York employees, regardless of the size of the company, for any of the following reasons:
Draft of PFL Regulations Released
Yesterday, the State of New York governor’s office published an important press release outlining developments in the PFL law, as well as a draft of parts of the new PFL regulations. The regulations are now in an important, 45-day pubic commenting period, so changes can still be made. One of our top carriers, Shelterpoint, compiled the regulations in an easy to read format.
Local Change Sets an Example for the Nation
Described as the “nation’s strongest and most comprehensive Paid Family Leave policy,” the policy seeks to support our state’s working families. While past presidential administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have touted support for women and families, the fact is, the U.S. has failed when it comes to putting the legislation in place to support parents and other caregivers.
New York’s PFL policy, like those of California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, creates a benchmark for other states to follow in providing families with the financial support they need when caring for children and the elderly, and to assist military families in their times of need.
What PFL Means to New York Insurance Brokers
PFL is mandated insurance coverage, just like NYS DBL. Employers will be turning to their DBL insurance providers for the information they need. Obviously, writing PFL policies represents another stream of revenue for brokers—and because it’s mandatory, it’s an easy sell. Your customers know and trust you. They will come to you with questions. It’s important to be prepared with the right answers.
That’s where The DBL Center comes in. We are your back-office for insurance sales and service, including DBL, ancillary benefits, and now, PFL coverage.
What We Know Right Now About PFL in New York
We know that the new insurance will be employee-funded and community rated, but we don’t yet know the rates. It will be up to carriers to set commissions, which will be dependent on the state-mandated rates in order to keep this employee-funded coverage affordable.
As always, the best way to make money on these policies is to bundle them with other coverage to maximize commissions. Rely on The DBL Center as your back office staff to do the legwork, so you can optimize your time and maximize your profits.
We urge our brokers to read through the regulations, think about them carefully, and propose suggested changes in writing, which will serve to benefit insurance brokers and their customers.
Most importantly, keep an eye on this site to read the latest news and developments about PFL in New York. The times they are a’changing, as they say.
Even with Trump’s proposed tax code changes, term life and Group Life / AD&D still a safe bet.
Are you a property & casualty, disability, or health insurance broker looking for new revenue streams? Life insurance might just represent another avenue to increase your book of business.
According to the Insurance Barometer Study, conducted jointly by not-for-profit research industry trade association LIMRA and the non-profit educational organization Life Happens, today’s consumers not only are receptive to life insurance purchases, but are also vocal advocates for it.
According to the study:
Surprisingly, the younger generation seems to show a maturity beyond its years, with 77 percent of millennials saying they recommend owning life insurance.
Life Insurance Purchases in the Trump Era
Although the study concluded in mid-2016, the new political climate and proposed tax changes should not affect the decision to buy life insurance. As life insurance broker Chris Acker states on LinkedIn:
“Regardless of tax reform possibilities, if you need life insurance, then BUY life insurance. Don’t put off protecting the very family that means the world to you just because a tax change ‘might’ happen.”
It’s hard to argue with that logic, and, as a broker, if you spot this gap in your customers’ coverage, it’s your responsibility to point it out and provide them with options.
But how could new tax code affect life insurance purchases? For the vast majority of term-life and Group Life / AD&D policy holders, the answer is: It won’t.
We’re not tax advisors, and you should speak to your accountant or a tax attorney if you’re considering investing in permanent (i.e. “whole” or “cash value”) life insurance. If Trump’s tax code passes, it could eliminate the tax-free build-up that is a major incentive to invest in whole life.
If you own a cash value policy, you can borrow money up to the amount you’ve paid into the policy without any tax penalties. In 2017 and beyond, if Trump’s proposed policy passes, that money would be taxed.
But if you’re purchasing a term life policy, universal policy, or investing in Group Life / AD&D with your employer, you don’t see those tax benefits anyway. Nothing changes.
And, keep in mind, if you’re already a whole life insurance holder prior to 2017, the new tax law wouldn’t apply.
Brokers: Make Life Insurance Part of Your Consultative Selling Approach
It’s not difficult to understand when it’s laid out in a few concise paragraphs, as above. Life insurance remains a good investment and a necessity to protect your family and provide income for them if you pass away.
But there is a lot of fear surrounding the current administration, and some of that fear could lead to hesitation to purchase life insurance. Customer education will be the key. Term life insurance and Group Life / AD&D policies won’t change.
Business owners and consumers, alike, can trust the brokers who provide their other benefits, including disability coverage, dental, and vision insurance, to shop for the best deals on Group Life and individual life insurance coverage.
For customers who are considering whole life insurance, term life can be a good “placeholder” policy until tax law changes get sorted out.
Corporate and individual customers need brokers they can trust in these confusing times. If you step up with the information they need, policies from top-rated carriers, and the white-glove service The DBL Center can help you provide in a white label capacity, you’ll always be top of mind.
You’re the one your customers turn to when they need guidance and when they’re ready to make a purchase. We can help.
The DBL Center… more than just disability insurance.